Through neglect or population decline, some small towns throughout America find themselves lagging behind in business, education and tourism. Rural communities can reinvent themselves by implementing arts programs or improving the business infrastructure in their community. In the late 2000s, small-town life has once again gained favor in the United States as an alternative to the stress and expense of large cities. Boomtown Institute, a national organization devoted to increasing industrial development in small towns, has helped rural towns to thrive since 2000, while many major media outlets, like Huffington Post, run features about the best small towns in America.
Times are hard on business and especially on budgets, but sometimes certain cost must be a priority for a city, especially for a city that much of it’s history is based on it’s tourism. In a memorandum put out on Monday Nov 29, just one day prior to the city budget meeting it was announced that the Main Street Of Hardy, Inc., the official Main Street organization that is part of the Main Street Arkansas program, is going to have it’s budget cut even more.
Our wonderful city has the added benefit during the City Council meetings to have a area business individual in charge of making a video recording of the meetings. We had believed this is a paid service on behalf of the City thus the citizens themselves, but undersand that is not the case. They do however replay the meetings on the local cable station 20 for the local viewing audience to have a chance to see.
It is interesting to hear so much talk in the air about he said this and she said that etc.. However some things are important and appear to be required by law. We hope that this election like any is being played fairly and within the proper parameters of the legal system. It is all about what we would consider keeping the playing field equal. Two questions have been asked about Public Servants and use of office equipment toward a campaign.
One question posed to our staff was about PUBLIC SERVANT’S devoting time or labor during usual office hours toward the campaigns of other candidates and if this is acceptable.
Citizen journalism is a concept that advances the idea that consumers or everyday citizens take a more active role in the news. It is often referred to as the “new media” and includes everything from passionate letters to the editor and comments on blogsand news sites, to bloggers scooping stories or exposing doctored or omitted facts from mainstream media reports. Citizen journalism also points out bias by particular reporters or news outlets and attempts to give voice to the both sides on hot button issues.
Seems like a simple enough action. However, when the only way to contact them is by either calling City Hall directly or using the only official listed email, which happens to be the Mayors that doesn’t help. Especially when you wish for your questions to be private and only for your specific Alderman. Obviously, in most instances it shouldn’t matter, but when your city is so small that everyone knows your business, keeping something between yourself and your representative is a right you should have. This is separate from making a presentation to the whole City Council by getting on the agenda.
This evening was filled with some pretty interesting meetings. I’m presently, not at liberty to discuss them on an open forum, but lets just say…the meetings were instructive. While returning from dinner at China Buffet and crossing the bridge we observed the Hardy Safety Vehicle Van and Chief Rose’s grey vehicle down at the gazebo with some additional vehicles. It caught our interest so we decided to investigate. When we drove up the two departed. The Mayor was driving the van. There was still a small group of folks hanging out at the gazebo, and to our delight and surprise, werealized that we knew the people who had been playing music. It was nice to visit with them and catch up on old times.
Below are the back and forth converations with our Mayor and how she responds to a citizen who was requesting the addition of a event to the official Hardy website. If you ever wondered what it takes to get a simple answer with the local government, below are the transcripts of my experience. You will be amazed and surprised at how she handles a individuals request and questions.
It all started with a request on Aug. 5th to please add a city supported event called Junk-N-Jam to the official city website that still on Aug. 16 in the a.m is not on the official city website.
UPDATE: THE CITY WEBSITE ON AUG. 16th FINALLY HAS THE EVENT POSTED
THANK YOU MAYOR————————————————————————————————————————
I feel that the street closure of South Johnson Street that took place back in late 2009 has been a complete failure ! In late 2009, the city voted to close South Johnson Street in order to test out the new city amphitheater. Originally members of the Hardy City Council met at a special meeting to discuss the closing down of the street for a period of one year!
During that meeting, Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton said “the reason for shutting down the street was to accommodate the new stage that has been purchased by the Advertising and Promotions Committee. She said the building, purchased from Bald Eagle Barns will give the public a place to watch various artists, musicians and other talent.”
Today the Mayor of Hardy personally contacted both website owners of this site in regards to some post on our community forums section. The Mayor called some post in the forums “lies and trash talk” and felt that when someone post these negative topics that it was bad for Hardy and for area events. We here at the Main Street Hardy Online website and the Friends Of Hardy Arkansas understand her concerns, but also firmly believe in FREEDOM OF SPEECH and that includes the right of individuals to express opinions, thoughts, ideas, comments etc. One of the site owners clearly explained to the Mayor repeatedly that our site has a separate section called forums for the community. This is separate from our News and Static Page sections that are reviewed and approved prior to posting.
“Without Freedom of thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech” – Benjamin Franklin
We were told that by allowing individuals to speak freely and have open discussions on our site that included information that wasn’t positive of Hardy, that the City Of Hardy would not and could not support this site. ( Note: Our site is currently not supported by any city funds.) Also, we were told that by allowing such post we were driving people away from Hardy. One citizen who posted in the forums about a the parks water fountains, could cause the Homesteaders Day organizers to pull out and not have the event in Hardy. In other words, our site according to the Mayor would be the ones to blame if the event cancels because of a individuals opionion made online.
First and foremost, you are welcome to not only read that discussion HERE but even register so you can respond with your own thoughts and opinions. Feel free to start a new topic of interest or ask a question too in the community forums. You are also just as free to not read the forums section too. It’s up to you!